Posted 09 June 2017 - 04:23 PM
I was in the Navy for 22 years. Lived in Orlando, Charleston, Kings Bay, GA (north of Jax), Columbia, SC, Norfolk, Charleston, Norfolk, Columbia, and finally San Diego. I got here in 2008 and stayed after I retired in 2014 due to the wife's job.
The only thing I like about SD is the weather and the fact that I can wear flip flops just about anywhere and no one bats an eye at me. My wife grew up in between Seattle and Vancouver, went to SC, and has been in California ever since (LA, Bay Area, and here) and said she never wanted to leave, which was...depressing.
However she's started looking for new career challenges and asked me where I'd be open to moving. I spend a ton of time in Denver for work, but she doesn't want snow, so that's out. That left us looking at Austin, San Antonio, and Charleston (because those are where the companies she's interviewed with so far are).
The problem with Austin is it's becoming the San Francisco of the heartland very quickly. Bunch of young, new money is flowing in and prices for condos downtown are on par with, or higher than, San Diego with no view of the ocean.
Can still get some really nice houses cheaper than San Diego in the burbs, but I've also heard about the traffic and while that doesn't concern me because I work out of the house when not traveling, it does concern my wife. We've been to Austin and I really liked the city...feels a lot like San Diego since it's also a college town, so it has that laid back vibe I really enjoy. I don't care about people's politics, just how they treat me, so Austin with no state taxes, affordable housing (for now), and decent weather is an option for us...for now. If we moved there, I'd want something close to one of the lakes, for sure.
Charleston was a surprise to me when she said she had interviews with companies there, but I'd go back in a heartbeat. People are friendly, USC means South Carolina (I went there for undergrad and grad school) state taxes are 5% lower, $300 flat tax on car purchases (vice 8.5% here in CA), no traffic unless you're evacuating from a hurricane, and a great food scene downtown. Tons of good, not necessarily great, public golf, but if we end up in Chucktown I'm making it a stipulation of moving that I get to join a private club just for the convenience and because I want to know I'll always be able to get an early tee time when it's hot in the summer. Daniel Island (where I want to live) has some great schools as well as other parts of town. Great beaches and the water actually gets warm in the summer, unlike the Pacific. Charleston is also 30% cheaper cost of living compared to San Diego on the online calculators.
Wife and son have spent the last two spring breaks in San Antonio, TX and have absolutely loved it. Ridiculously cheap housing, what appears to be good golf, and no state taxes, which is a 13% instant pay "raise." Property taxes are only 1% more than what we pay here in the Point Loma area of San Diego, so we'd definitely come out ahead. Looks like there's some really good school districts as well. San Antonio is 40% cheaper cost of living on the calculators.
For comparison, my wife and I have a 2100 sf house that has a view of the ocean since we cut down the two big trees blocking it as soon as we moved in. We paid $815K in 2013 which pissed me off to no end since I grew up in Ft. Wayne, IN and there isn't a house in the entire city that costs that much. Estimates are that if we sold it now, without really putting any cash into it other than painting it, it'll be around $1.1M which while awesome for my pocket is also absurdly ridiculous. I have been looking at houses online and Austin and Charleston are about the same...around $500K for 4/4 with 3500sf in a good area. San Antonio was about $350-400K, so significantly cheaper.
If I had my druthers though, I'd move to Columbia, SC. Great, small town with a ton of stuff to do for a city that size and great food. 2 hours from the ocean and two hours from the mountains if you want to go skiing. Private golf courses there are ridiculously cheap (< $2000 initiation and 400/mo) for something that's always in phenomenal shape. Lake Murray on the north side of town is a fishing and boating paradise as well. Only time you have to worry about traffic is when there's a home football game at Williams-Brice.
The only upside to living in SoCal, other than the weather, is that you can save more into your 401k if your employer matches before retirement since salaries are significantly higher for the same job than they are in the midwest and southeast. Once you have enough saved up to move and be comfortable though, you should get out as soon as possible, IMO.
Driver: Taylormade 2016 M1 w/extra weight and 6 shots of hot melt. Oban Kyoshi Purple 70X, D-8ish
3W: Taylormade 2017 M2 Tour 15* w/Mitsubishi Kuro Kage TiNi 70S, D2
5W: Taylormade 2017 M1 19* (set to 20*) w/Mitsubishi Tensei Blue 80X, D2
4-PW: Raw Mizuno MP 33s with Tour Flighted Rifle 6.5, D2
52, 56, and 60*: Taylormade Milled Grind 3* up with Rifle PX 6.5, D2
Putter: 2006 Taylormade Rossa, 34" and about 20 strips of lead tape on the bottom to bring it up to E2ish
Ball: Taylormade TP5x